Forgotten people… marginalized people… the oppressed, persecuted, poor and afflicted… Let me declare what the Bible declares – God cares about them! I mean, here it is right out of the mouth of Jesus: “So the last will be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20:16) In fact, one of the distinguishing characteristics of Luke’s account of the life, teaching and ministry of Jesus was his emphasis on these very kind of people. Theologians have called this theme in Scripture, “the priority of the oppressed and afflicted.” Don’t get me wrong, God cares about everyone! All humanity are the object of His loving care and concern! But it seems He especially cares about the abused and those forgotten by others!
In fact, I read an Old Testament passage – a Psalm – this morning that seemed to pick up on, and emphasize, that very theme…
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds… The Lord sits enthroned forever; He has established His throne for justice, and He judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness. The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Sing praises to the Lord! … Tell among the peoples his deeds! For He does not forget the cry of the afflicted! … For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever!” (From Psalm 9 ESV)
Is it any wonder then, that Jesus spoke these words twice in one passage, “As you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto Me!” (Matthew 25:31-46) Here is my prayer: “Oh Lord, may those who are the love and concern of your heart always be my love and concern as well!”